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Former Crystal Palace defender Gary Borrowdale is back training with the Gills.
Boss Peter Taylor believes Borrowdale could be a top-quality player in League 1 but he won’t be handing out a deal unless the 28-year-old can prove his fitness.
And the free-agent left-back is in a race against time to prove it.
“He still has to get a bit fitter and he knows that,” said Taylor.
“I have upped the stakes for him really and I have told him he has got to get fitter. He will be with us for another couple of weeks and we will see how his fitness goes.
“If it goes well then we will pursue it and if it doesn’t we won’t – simple as that.”
Borrowdale played youth football for England as a teenager and spent five seasons at Crystal Palace – one of those spent working under Taylor.
He left for Coventry in a £650,000 deal but after a succession of loans to other clubs he eventually dropped out of the Football League.
Taylor handed Borrowdale a lifeline last season, bringing him to the Gills in January on non-contract terms, but he never managed to get selected for a first-team game.
Despite that, Taylor is prepared to persevere.
“I know what he can do, that’s the difference,” Taylor said.
“If he was to get back to the fitness levels that he had at Crystal Palace then he will be as good as you will get in this division by a mile. I know what he is capable of.”
But Taylor added: “He has to be fitter and he has to be 90-minutes fit and that’s what I am asking of him at the minute.
“I have known him a long time and he is a good chap but he might have taken a bit of wrong advice in the summer. I think he did some work that hasn’t helped him. He hasn’t come back as fit as I want him and I am not going to commit myself until he does.”
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